THE PAS­SION­ATE REPURPOSER

A Con­necti­cut ar­chi­tect rein­vents vin­tage flea-mar­ket finds into new fur­ni­ture with an old soul.

Country Sampler's Prarie Style - - Modern Pioneer -

OP­PO­SITE PAGE: This floor lamp com­prises an an­tique head­board that was cut and cov­ered with tex­tured pa­per, and a pair of shapely cen­tury- old cor­bels on ei­ther side of it. THIS PAGE, TOP LEFT: Af­ter a year’s un­fruit­ful search for a round din­ing ta­ble, fur­ni­ture maker Jim Healy built his own from new cop­per pipes that he chem­i­cally treated for a weath­ered patina. ABOVE LEFT: To make this ta­ble lamp, Jim mar­ried a chippy green porch spin­dle to a rusty flag­pole base of al­most iden­ti­cal color. LEFT: Miss­ing cozy fire­light in the bed­room, Jim built a faux fire­place and then re­pur­posed an old candy mold to caddy can­dles at its base. “When they’re all lit, it has the feel of a fire­place,” Jim says. He con­structed the floor lamp from an old ca­noe oar. ABOVE: The minute Jim saw the old wire laun­dry bas­ket, he imag­ined it topped with glass to serve as a side ta­ble. He filled the bas­ket with old oil­cans for pops of color and more vin­tage char­ac­ter. He built the mint-green ta­ble lamp from spin­dles he found duct-taped to­gether at a flea mar­ket. “I just got rid of the duct tape!”

For fur­ni­ture maker Jim Healy, the cre­ative process is all about the eye. “I can walk through a flea mar­ket or tag sale and know im­me­di­ately if I can use some­thing,” says Jim, whose most unique home fur­nish­ings are made from ar­chi­tec­tural sal­vage and quirky vin­tage peo­ple’s junk,” he jokes. A Con­necti­cut ar­chi­tect by day, Jim makes fur­ni­ture for fun. “Ar­chi­tec­ture bills,” he says. But cre­at­ing new fur­ni­ture from re­pur­posed pieces is his pas­sion. Week­ends find him sniff­ing around es­tate sales, hot on the trail of his par­tic­u­lar brand of junk. Any­thing shiny, newish or sleek is out. His taste is for the rusty- crusty: cen­tury-old cor­bels and porch spin­dles with flak­ing paint, dinged oil­cans and ar­chi­tec­tural relics, rusty wire laun­dry bas­kets, a lone­some ca­noe oar or a candy mold worn soft around the edges. Re­pur­posed as lamps, ta­bles, chests, or even faux fire­places, these raw ma­te­ri­als have old souls that live on in their new­est in­car­na­tions. Even pieces like the ar­moires Jim builds with new wood are made to look old. “I paint and dis­tress ev­ery­thing I build from scratch,” he says. Jim not only knows he can use an old piece the minute he sees it, but he also knows ex­actly how: He vi­su­al­izes the fin­ished de­sign in the blink of an eye. “I just know,” he says. His soft spot is for oddities like the old plaid Sears ther­mos he in­stantly vi­su­al­ized as a lamp shade. He also knows when to leave well enough alone. One par­tic­u­larly ar­cane piece, a large cast-iron shin­gle cut­ter, was a keeper he chose not to mod­ify. “It’s sculp­tural. Art,” he says. “I never took classes in this,” Jim ad­mits. But it’s in his DNA. He grew up mes­mer­ized, watch­ing his grand­fa­ther at work in his shop. “He could build any­thing.” Hap­pily, the fam­ily tra­di­tion lives on.

OP­PO­SITE PAGE, TOP: A cor­bel sport­ing crusty white paint was a nat­u­ral for a lamp base. BOT­TOM: Ar­chi­tect Jim Healy builds fur­ni­ture from re­pur­posed vin­tage pieces or from wood that he paints and dis­tresses. He is an edi­tor of Junkmar­ket­style.com, where his projects ap­pear. THIS PAGE, TOP LEFT: A gut­ted plaid Sears ther­mos is even cooler as a lamp shade. A gal­va­nized fun­nel is the per­fect base. ABOVE LEFT: A lamp fab­ri­cated from two an­tique cor­bels at­tached back to back ex­udes an Asian feel. Jim learned wiring at a col­lege job work­ing for an elec­tri­cal com­pany. LEFT AND ABOVE: In ad­di­tion to re­pur­pos­ing junk, Jim makes fur­ni­ture from scratch. The yel­low jelly cup­board and the ar­moire both have an au­then­ti­cally old look, though en­tirely new.

LEFT: This strik­ing floor lamp was fab­ri­cated from an an­tique red fire bucket and an old in­dus­trial fun­nel prob­a­bly used for a trac­tor. The bucket’s con­i­cal shape made the sand used for putting out fires eas­ier to throw and less likely to stick to the bucket. TOP: Jim trans­formed a col­lege bull­horn into a pen­dant light for his din­ing room ta­ble. ABOVE: In the fash­ion of a crazy quilt, the blue chest con­sists of ran­dom old pieces of shut­ters. “I didn’t paint any­thing on it,” Jim says. OP­PO­SITE, TOPLEFT: The tall floor lamp cre­ated by sand­wich­ing a dis­carded head­board in be­tween two wide cor­bels has the curvy look of a cello or bass vi­o­lin. OP­PO­SITE, TOPRIGHT: This green ar­moire, crafted in 1985, was the first one Jim built. Rest­ing atop it is the old cast-iron shin­gle cut­ter he opted to leave un­touched and present as art.

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